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Gaurav Bhagat remembers when his grandfather and his father had to shutter their successful ceramics factory on the outskirts of Kolkata back in the 70s during the communist uprisings in West Bengal. His family was forced to leave Kolkata with nothing but a few suitcases and some clothes, he recalls.
The do-or-die situation that had presented itself when Gaurav was growing up forced him to think of ways he could salvage the state of affairs and help his family stand on its own two feet. He withdrew Rs 10,000 on the credit card he had on him at the time, and started a gifting company called Consortium Gifts.
It wasn’t a last-ditch effort by any means — entrepreneurship ran in the 21-year-old’s veins.
Gaurav’s first venture was a stock market game he had created at the age of 16, which was later bought by Leo Toys, and the young entrepreneur was paid a royalty on every game Leo sold.
Still, there was a lot riding on Consortium Gifts when it was founded.
Today, Consortium Gifts does Rs 30 crore in revenue, is present in six Indian cities, and has over 80 employees. It dominates the corporate gifting segment in the country, and has exclusive tie-ups with brands like Puma, Shantanu & Nikhil, Swarovski, Brand Charger, and Boardroom, among others.
Gaurav recalls that, when he was still building Consortium Gifts, he met Grant Cardone, a notable international businessman, speaker, and owner of $1.5 billion investment company Cardone Capital, in the US.
The billionaire investor had been training Consortium Gifts’ employees — especially his sales staff — in all the ways they could take the company from 10X to 100X, and Gaurav realised that the content that he used in those training sessions was “game-changing”.
Combining his passion for business, selling, and growing, with his newfound zest to do more, Gaurav realised he wanted to mentor and help other, smaller businesses like him replicate and even exceed the success he had seen with Consortium Gifts.
In 2018, he founded the Gaurav Bhagat Academy (GBA), a training institute to help deliver quality lessons in growing and scaling businesses.
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GBA fills that gap by easily disseminating implementable training and coaching in the domain of sales. It offers several programmes, including the 10X sales programme developed by Grant Cardone, and the Tiny to 10X programme, which helps companies and individuals incorporate small actions that can help them become successful.
The company is soon going to launch ‘Lakshya’, a goal-setting game that people can use to set up structured, quantifiable goals for themselves.
GBA’s clients include large companies such as Microsoft, , HDFC Life, Bharti AXA, etc, as well as SMEs and MSMEs, entrepreneurs, and working professionals looking to upskill. College students can also join GBA’s training programme, which it currently offers via its app, and physically, out of Noida. The programme will be available in Mumbai and Bengaluru in the next two years.
Apart from providing training courses that start at Rs 10,000, GBA offers business coaching and advisory services that can pull in around Rs 1 lakh per day, Gaurav says. GBA also does events and success summits, entries for which start at Rs 5,000.
The Academy has trained over 1,500 paid clients, and more than 50,000 people have attended its webinars to date. The app has over one lakh downloads, and the website sees substantial traffic too.
He adds that his clients have been able to grow 40 to 100 percent in under six months of working with GBA, despite the pandemic. Gaurav personally works with large corporates and devises strategies and diagnostic surveys to help get more clarity; smaller businesses are handled by his team.
The self-funded venture, which the entrepreneur started with an initial investment of Rs 75 lakh, has made nearly Rs 50 lakh in revenue to date. It hopes to turn a profit in the current financial year.
GBA’s competitors in India include the likes of RAIN Consulting, , Mercuri Goldmann, , and B-More Consulting, among several others.
With COVID-19 causing many companies’ sales to bottom out, upskilling and training salespersons to perform better has become an imperative agenda on CXOs’ agendas, not just in India, but around the world.
According to Allied Research, the global corporate training market size is expected to hit $417.21 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 9.4 percent till 2027, from $332.93 billion in 2019.
In India, the sales training sector is expected to follow a similar trajectory of growth, especially with quality ventures like GBA.